Feeling the Pain at the Pump...Once Again

MARCH 11, 2007

JONESBORO, AR -- The average price per gallon of unleaded gas in Arkansas is $2.36.

"It's really hard you know when you like to travel and you have your kids and they like to stop here and there and eat. The gas is really high so you have to think about that when you're traveling with a family," says Shirley Clark, a concerned consumer.

Many of us stay in constant limbo with the fluctuating gas prices. Over the last month, gas prices in Arkansas have risen more than 30 cents a gallon.

Chris Lawrey is an Economy Professor at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge. We asked him why we're seeing the rise once again and he said the answer is simply supply and demand.

"We as Americans continue to consume more and more gasoline, regardless of the price," says Lawrey.

The supply is restricted right now because of several things. Crude oil, which makes up 40 percent of a gallon of gasoline, has dropped in supply, but Lawrey says it's also just the time of the year.

"A big issue this time of year is the change over from the winter mix fuel to summer grade fuel," says Lawrey.

Lawrey says the prices are so unpredictable because of the number of things that create the price.

"Crude oil is the most largely traded commodity in the world, so there are too many factors outside of the United States that are coming into play here," says Lawrey.

And if we think they're high now, who knows what it'll be costing us in a few months. When we continue to pay that high price at the pump, the suppliers have little reason to bring the cost down.

"It's really the consumer that's going to determine which way the price goes," says Lawrey.

The oil companies say it's the decreasing supply that keeps spiking gas prices, but many say that's just their excuse.

"Does the cost of it really justify charging $3 a gallon? maybe, maybe not, but if people are willing to pay $3 a gallon, then there going to try to get $3 a gallon," adds Lawrey.

We may think the cost of gas is high here, but actually Arkansas is 12 cents cheaper than the national average, at $2.48 a gallon.